Second up was Chris Shepherd. His specialist subject might have given pause for thought. French Impressionists is certainly a narrower subject than European Paintings, which was the subject that caused Arfor Wyn Hughes to famously come a cropper a few years ago, but nonetheless it may well have been tempting fate. As it happened Chris didn’t do badly at the start, but then, call it a sudden attack of nerves, call it what you like, but the round ground to a halt. You could almost feel poor Chris’ frustration through the screen. He finished with 6.
You sensed that Michael Rogers subject had seen some hard bargaining, since Haydn in England only covered a few years of the composer’s life. Mind you, getting what looked to be a narrower subject can be a double edged sword . You can often find yourself having to deal with really intricate questions if you have such a relatively narrow subject. Whatever the case 10 was enough to put into contention for the win, if not for a runner up slot on the repechage board.
Bringing the round to a conclusion was Duncan Stephenson. I know some people who still misguidedly believe that you automatically receive an easier ride if you opt for a sporting subject, but this is simply not the case. Duncan struggled manfully with his round, but despite a lot of honest endeavor he just failed to get into double figures. 9 didn’t mean that he had no chance of winning, but it certainly made him a long shot.
Before he’d get the chance to show us what he could to, though, Chris Shepherd returned to the chair. I don’t know if it was a case of what had happened in the first round forcing him to go hell for leather, but it seemed to me that there were a number of questions he knew the answer to , where he blurted out the quick wrong answer just a fraction of a second before the correct right answer occured to him. Still, his 8 points was enough to give him a one point lead. Duncan Stephenson did rather better at picking off the ones that he knew. He might not have managed double figures in his SS round, but he managed it now. OK, 11 was not the highest score we’ve seen all season, but it wasn’t bad going, and put him into the 20s, albeit that it didn’t look as if the lead was going to last until the end of the show. Michael Rogers’ first answer did suggest that it was unlikely to be him who beat it, though. You have to get stuff like King Midas right if you’re going to give yourself a chance of winning. Michael steadied himself a little, but really there were just too many wrong answers to gettable questions, and in the end he leveled out at 8 correct answers for 18 points in total.
Now, as for Nick Duffy, well, in his 2 2006 performances Nick had scored a brace of 11s on GK. These were both 2 minute rounds. With 8 required for the win without recourse to countback, there seemed to be little or no chance that he wouldn’t win. It was reasonable to expect about 16 on this form in a 2 and a half minute round. Well, I think Nick has been working on his GK, because this was a highly impressive round indeed. Alright, he wasn’t necessarily under huge pressure, with such a modest total to beat, but nonetheless a score of 18 is a terrific performance, and this wasn’t a very easy GK set either. In the end Nick finished with 31, and has marked himself out as very much one to watch in the semis.
|Nick Duffy||Peter Cook||13 - 0||18 - 0||31 – 0|
|Chris Shepherd||French Impressionist Painters||6 - 5||8 - 4||14 – 9|
|Michael Rogers||Haydn in England||10 - 4||8 - 8||18 – 12|
|Duncan Stephenson||FC Barcelona||9 - 2||11 - 3||20 – 5|